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    Falling in Reverse - Fashionably Late

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    Falling in Reverse - Fashionably Late

    Post by DarkEnvy on Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:05 pm

    Falling in Reverse - Fashionably Late

    Genre: Post-Hardcore

    (Review originally posted on Sputnikmusic under my old name, ASnideReturns)

    Falling in Reverse, (better known at this point as Ronnie’s Modern Life), is no stranger to unusual circumstances. The band used to visit Ronnie in prison to practice for their first album, they got any metal related music permanently banned from Six Flags and have in general caused a global commotion. So what do they have to offer with their sophomore effort? Without a doubt this is the most ambitious move that Ronnie and the gang have pulled off in their musical careers so far. “Fashionably Late” is an amalgamation of the band’s multiple influences spewed into musical form without a filter; providing for a solid yet inconsistent thrill ride.

    The most notable inclusion to the band’s sound would be Ronnie’s sudden decision to start rapping in the verses of multiple songs. It’s slightly unexpected, but given that two of his biggest influences are Tupac and Eminem it’s not that surprising that he would pull a move like this. At times his commanding flow and emotional delivery are front and center, such as in the song “It’s Over When It’s Over.” Unfortunately at other times, he sounds like a boastful suburb teenager free-styling over a repetitive pseudo-house beat such as in “Alone.” Luckily he’s far more solid in each of the performances than the other way around. He’s got speed on his side, as evidenced in the verses after the second chorus in both “Rolling Stone” and “Self Destruct Personality.” His confidence and egotism are used to great effect here as well. Ronnie’s singing hasn’t changed one bit; his sarcastic vocal inflection is still in your face and his hooks still lodge themselves into your brain like a parasite. He’s always stayed within his comfort zone, only venturing out in various moments. This really isn’t a problem because Ronnie’s vocal tone is the most enjoyable within his comfort zone. It is notable however that the track “Keep Holding On” has arguably his best vocal performance since his days in Escape the Fate.

    The only real disappointment to be found in the vocal department is the severe downgrade in the quality of his harsh vocals. He’s developed an unnatural rasp and his intensity has all but deteriorated with the exception of a few select moments. At times he can jump into his higher register and deliver a strong scream, such as on one of the breakdowns in “Champion” and in the intro of “Self Destruct Personality.” Sadly though he’s nowhere near consistent enough; he constantly dips into his middle range and attempts to put forth some gutturals to poor effect. The majority of this album is filled with clean performances and rap verses so luckily this can be overlooked, as the screams only dominate a couple of tracks.

    The lyricism is possibly the most polarizing aspect about this album. As expected it’s all about Ronnie, although his lyrical topics have expanded from his previous efforts. Though they aren’t quite up to the standards set by himself in his previous days, there are still some memorable passages here. Whether they are remembered for comedy or for being serious completely depends on the song. The ego-driven side we’ve come to detest in his lyricism actually takes a well needed step back here with the exception of a few songs. Instead of acting out and playing the blame game, he poses questions about himself that he just can’t answer; this shows that he’s ready to start looking at himself with more sincerity.

    Why do I leave a trail of destruction in my path?

    ”I thought I had myself all figured out
    But I spent my whole life holding myself down
    And it seems to be that sort of thing I keep doing constantly
    Addicted to the pain I cause myself.”

    - Keep Holding On

    Where do I stand in terms of what I believe?

    “I wear my heart up on my sleeve so my soul's exposed.
    And I carry this disease, the weight of the holy ghost.
    God, can you hear me? God is missing.”

    - It’s Over When It’s Over

    Am I just like my mother who deserted us?

    ”I surrender,
    Curse my mother's soul.
    I still miss her,
    No matter where I go.
    It's time for me to pack my bags, I will always be alone.
    The only thing I've ever known, is a broken home.”

    - Drifter

    If he can finally get over himself, he could hone in on moments like these and create a fully consistent album lyrically; however before that happens, Ronnie has to finally face his fears and learn to forgive but never forget. There’s still some raw anger from his past left over in tracks like “Self-Destruct Personality”, but they’re majorly toned down from the previous album.

    The instrumentals are a whole different ball park and vary from song to song. The most common style on the album is upbeat synthesizer arrangements juxtaposed with catchy guitar, groovy bass lines and solid drum work; again it isn’t fully consistent. The most technical track on the album is “Born to Lead”, which draws influence from Dragonforce thanks to its fast guitar work; there’s even a nifty little bass solo before the lead kicks in. The name of the game is infectious guitar leads, and Jacky Vincent knows his way across the fret board. What comes as surprise is how competent and audible the bass player is. Post-Hardcore has an unfortunate reputation for lacking audible bass, and this album breaks that stereotype. The bass helps give multiple tracks identity, such as during the pre-chorus of “It’s Over When It’s Over.” The drums are well executed also, with some nice fills, well timed use of double bass and various other standout moments where it helps keep the pacing of the songs in check. The electronic work varies throughout the album, from the 8-bit samples of “Game Over” to the airy and bouncy synth work in “Bad Girls Club”, there’s always something different; albeit slightly generic in certain places.

    Falling in Reverse is still trying to find their signature sound and decided to throw everything on the table. Reactions on either end of the spectrum are all fully justified; when you get down to the construction of the music itself however, you’ll find that almost every song on here is well constructed with the exception of a few rogue musical choices (such as the triple breakdown barrage after the admittedly cool solo in "Born to Lead.”) Where Falling in Reverse will go next is anyone’s guess, but the best path now would be to find their comfort zone and stick with it.


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